Protecting the family: building the home

Protecting the family: building the home

Carmen Pavia

Carmen Pavia is Academic Director of Kenvale College, Australia's first private Hospitality College, founded in 1971 on Christian principles. Kenvale College in Randwick NSW offers courses in Hospitality and Event Management, and has a deserved reputation for its 100% employment success rate among its graduates, its strong links to the hospitality industry and its uncompromising and stable values.

The home is the first setting where we, as persons, become conscious of ourselves. We discover that we are unique in both the way we are loved and the way we love others.

We feel recognised and this recognition leads to security, comfort and becomes a reference point for who we are and who we can become. The home then is not just a material surr-ounding but, through its nature and function, a foundation for society.

In our current society, the public and private value of the family home is undervalued.

From economic, social well-being and even spiritual points of view we fail to see the intrinsic and remarkable impact that the family home has on our personal, social and spiritual development.

The family home is the first natural project we have when we come into the world for it is at home where we first become collaborators in some-thing bigger than ourselves.

We become aware of others and, through love and empathy nourished within a family context, discover what sacrifice is through helping loved ones.

Through such service of others, we learn for the first time that both material and spiritual needs are met at home. The family project takes shape materially in such places as the kit-chen where physical needs are met in the form of physical togetherness, nourishment and communication.

The home also fosters a non-material service where love, compass-ion, empathy and protection are fostered and passed on as personal attributes that should be applied in a broader societal context where a community shares the challenges of life in various manifestations.

Service is not simply a choice or a path, but a virtue, which can have a 'pay-it-forward' enduring impact on individuals fortunate enough to have experienced a family environment of service (serving and being served).

It is through service that we learn to recognise humanity in loved ones and strangers alike. Service becomes a bridge joining our internal family to our external family, broad-ening our concept of self to become externally facing, further emphasising the virtue of service to cease only serving our own cause and to adopt as our own, through service, the cause of humanity.

Love, through service, so easily understood in an internal family context, is more readily transferable to an external social context.

In the same way that loving one's family humanises their experiences and our treatment of them, so too does service, with the added value of breaking down our personal barriers enabling the communication of love to a much broader audience.

In light of this analysis of ser-vice, the work of the home such as managing the home transforms from being simply a physical action to a recognised enriching love-bearing non-physical outcome.

Inspirational teachings

The importance and value of the family home as service has been at the heart of Saint Josemaria's teachings since 1928. He saw the work of the home or housework as a true profess-ion, "a wonderful job which is very worthwhile ... Through this profession - because it is a profession, in a true and noble sense - they (women) are an influence for good, not only in their family, but also among their many friends and acquaintances, among people with whom they come in contact ... Sometimes their impact is much greater than that of other professional people ..." (Convers-ations with Monsignor Escrivá de Balaguer, Little Hills & Scepter, Syd-ney, 1993).

In 1971 a group of women inspired by his teachings started Australia's first Hospitality College, Kenvale College, in order to foster and raise the value and impact of housework both in the private setting of the fam-ily home as well as its professional setting within the hospitality industry.

The College has, as its mission, to "to educate in service" and offers a variety of courses in hospitality, cookery, events and home management.

The home management course enhances this recognition of the value of home management to broader society by focusing on a number of skills ranging from time management, home maintenance, cooking, dining, entertainment, interior decoration and more, as well as providing a deep un-derstanding of the anthropological foundations of the family and the home.

This course "celebrates" (in the words of Pauline Nguyen, guest speaker at Kenvale College) the family home. It honours that what happens in one's home has a tremendous impact on our attitudes and behaviours in society.

The home management course considers the work carried out within the home as a true profession. A professional occupation made up of activities that embrace people's basic needs, that requires a wide range of knowledge (from nutrition in the kit-chen to chemistry and physics in order to clean, carry out household maintenance, take care of machines, etc), that requires personal and professional development and where the intention of the job is paramount to its proper fulfillment – service and love.

As with all other professions a service is given and consumed by a person. In the work of the home a service is given but it is even more important to consider why this service is given. As indicated above, the work of the home shows humanity in its truest sense: we serve at home out of love.

For further information about Kenvale College, including course details and application forms, visit www.kenvale.edu.au.

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